The fourth meeting of “Learn & Earn: A Young Leaders’ Group for the Development of the U.S. Workforce” featured Katie Gage, Director of the DC branch of Enstitute, who emphasized the need to reinvent the apprenticeship system to keep up with a fast-paced twenty-first century job market.
The United States has experienced enormous growth in higher education costs and youth unemployment over the last years. Enstitute, founded in 2013, places talented young individuals in one-year full-time apprenticeships in start-ups, small businesses, and corporations. In contrast to traditional vocational training, Enstitute aims for hands-on high-level mentorship and training in innovative companies of the twenty-first century, such as technology and media companies. They create a marketplace to match these individuals, who have valuable attributes but still need to develop the right set of skills, with employers who are interested in developing them professionally. Employers can benefit from a creative and highly motivated workforce with raw, pliable talent.
In order to match individual applicants to a business, Enstitute has created new methods of assessment. Instead of focusing on degrees or work experience, they conduct an intensive hands-on screening of applicants for their talents and attributes. Once placed in a company, the apprentices receive a starting salary, one-on-one coaching from executives, and further support from Enstitute.
During the discussion, participants noted the difficulties in reaching out to young individuals to let them know about apprenticeship programs. Matching programs like Enstitute need to be creative in reaching out to this applicant pool to let them know about apprenticeship opportunities. In the future, Enstitute seeks to strengthen its communication efforts, its range, and the recognition of its program, especially in the field of small businesses and start-ups.
Information about the working group:
The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) at Johns Hopkins has been working on bringing together a number of different actors concerned with workforce development in the U.S. to encourage sharing of ideas, learning lessons from different countries, seeing what challenges lay ahead, and where further cooperation is needed to encourage public-private partnerships towards promoting specialized skills training opportunities.
“Learn & Earn” is a working group of young professionals from a variety of different sectors and backgrounds (energy, education, finance, industry, manufacturing, etc.) that gather monthly to discuss the role of workforce training in economic development around the world.
At our first meeting in June 2014, we welcomed Robert Dehm from the German Embassy’s Economic Department. He presented the German Embassy’s Skills Initiative. At the second meeting in July we heard from Zach Boren, Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeships on how they are trying to brand apprenticeships to an American audience. And in August we heard from Max Grünig, Senior Fellow of Ecologic about the growth of green industry in Europe and the U.S. and how that has spurred growth of apprenticeship programs in that field.
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Made possible by the support of The German Marshall Fund of the United States